Doug Crane, Master Animator and Cartoonist has died, at 85.
Doug Crane, animator for Terrytoons, Hanna-Barbera, MTV, Filmation, Oriolo Films, Zander Animation Parlour, as well as former Professor of Animation at SVA, died on December 17, 2020 after a brave and short battle with cancer.
Born in Bronxville, New York, Crane’s love for drawing cartoons and animation began early on. After attending Eastchester High School and graduating from the Cartoonist and Illustrators School (now called The School of Visual Arts in New York City) Crane began working for Terrytoons in 1956. His first day at Terrytoons would change his life. Not only did he begin a career that would span 65 years, but he met his beloved sweetheart Maureen Hurley whom he would marry and go on to start their family of 8 children.
Crane took a break from the New York animation industry briefly when he went into the Army in 1958. While serving in the Army he married his sweetheart and started their family. He also illustrated recruitment pamphlets, created & painted floats for the base parades, painted signage for the White Sands Proving Grounds, and created a comic strip called Tiptoe and Timber that ran in military Newspapers.
Once released from the Army he and his wife and their new baby returned to New Rochelle, NY to continue working at Terrytoons. Crane’s animation career had him working with some of the industry greats such as: Burne Hogarth, Preston Blair, Art Babbitt, Jimmy (Shamus) Culhane, Bill Hanna, Joe Oriolo, Bill Tytla, John Hubley, Grim Natwick, Jack Zander, Al Capp, Bob Blechman, Gene Deitch, Ernie Pintoff, Richard Williams and a host of others. It had also taken him to places such as California, Canada, Germany to name a few.
At the request of Bill Hanna, Crane and Red Auguston opened and operated the Hanna-Barbera East studio in New York City. Crane went on in his career to animate films, television series, commercials, theatrical releases, and half hour specials; draw comic strips, comic books and digests. He received a Clio Award, the National Television Commercials Award, for his animation of The Wall Street Journal commercial. His storyboard work, character creation & design, background design and finished layouts are a few more talents he possessed but some of his favorite work was when he animated the bobbing, rolling, and twisting ship scene in the Raggedy Ann & Andy movie. Watch Crane’s face light up when he describes it in video interviews and you’ll see it for yourself.
Crane also designed and taught a comprehensive course in Cartooning and Animation techniques at his alma mater, Eastchester High School and was a Professor of Classical Animation at his other alma mater, The School of Visual Arts in New York City, for 15 years. Crane was also invited to teach at the Institute of Animation and Film at the Academy of Art and Design, Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, a rare honor indeed.
Besides maintaining a full schedule of lectures and demonstrations on the art of animation at schools, libraries, fraternal organizations, business luncheons etc. Crane also spent time as the Artist In Residence at the prestigious Thornton-Donovan school in New Rochelle. He also served the Westchester County residents as an Auxiliary Police officer, a Grand Knight at the New Rochelle Knights of Columbus and as the Municipal Arts Commissioner where he planned and carried out the weekend-long 40th Anniversary celebration for Terrytoons in February 1982. Crane’s ability to walk the streets of New Rochelle and New York City and always bump into someone he knew or worked with was unparalleled but not surprising when you are lucky enough to be able to do what you love, in a city you love, for your entire career,
Of all these things mentioned, Crane was most proud not of his work, or his countless hours of volunteering in the community, but of his family. His children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were the light of his life. He loved all the activity that was always happening in a household with a family of 10. As his neighbors and friends can attest, one was never a stranger to Doug. You were always invited in for a seat on the couch, a plate at the table or a beer on the back deck. He loved the hustle and bustle of his home with his children and their friends always coming and going and when he saw you the next time, he always asked a follow up question to your last conversation. You felt his love.
Doug is survived by his children Maureen, Erin (her husband Mark & their daughters Megan, Katie & Kerry & their families), Thomas (his wife Debbie & their children Sean & Brianna & their families), Colleen (her husband Art & their children AJ, Aidan, Tiernan & Riley), Caitlin (her husband Shawn), Kevin (his wife Erin & their children Abigail & Nathaniel) and Rose-Ellen (her husband Andrew & their daughters Sam, Shannon, Jordan & Hayley). He was predeceased by two days, by his beloved wife of 61 years, Maureen, and by his son Douglas Jr. in 2018.
Doug was a wonderful, kind, considerate person, a warm & comfortable friend and an amazing father & grandfather who will be missed more than can be put into words.
A private service is being held in Stuart, FL for immediate family members, with another being planned in New Rochelle, NY for this spring/summer when folks can hopefully gather (depending on the safety of the pandemic situation) to celebrate Doug & Maureen’s lives and legacy. Condolence messages can be sent through email at DorableDad78@gmail.com and will be shared with his family.
A Mass is scheduled for Saturday, June 19th, 2021 at Holy Family Church at 9:30am, followed by inurnment at Beechwoods Cemetery.